Tuesday, July 2, 2013

lake powell - pt. 3

Smith Fork Canyon starting to narrow

We went with the same routine Wednesday morning: getting up and getting going early so we could find a campsite and start hiking before the heat really kicked in.  We moved a few miles further south, sending the powerboat up into Smith Fork Canyon to scout and secure a spot.  Smith Fork Canyon is just spectacular, winding and curving with sheer red and white cliffs looming overhead.  We ended up at practically the very end of the canyon - the water depth shallowed to about 4 feet just past where we beached - and some friendly folks in a large houseboat even moved their water toys aside so we could sneak through the narrows.

Smith Fork Canyon hike

After beaching and securing the houseboat, everyone but my niece and sister-in-law headed out for a hike to the slot canyon at the end of Smith Fork.  Because of the low water level, we had to walk quite a ways in the stream at the bottom of the canyon before we reached the slot.  But once we got there, it was magnificent.  It  never got narrower than about five feet (although we did not make it to the end of the canyon so it might have gotten tighter), the red sandstone passage twisting and writhing ahead of us.  It wasn't a particularly deep canyon but it was gorgeous.  We ended up hiking for about four hours, long enough for the sun get high enough to reach into the canyon and for it to get really hot.  The wind picked up on the way out too, blowing the fine red sand into our ears and eyes.

Even as we walked it, it didn't seem real

The wind continued throughout the afternoon as the group tried to stay out of the heat, reading and swimming.  In the evening, as it started to get a little cooler and the wind died a bit, everyone but H and my mom took the powerboat across the main channel to Forgotten Canyon to check out the restored Anasazi Defiance House ruins.

Getting narrow now

We got fairly fancy for dinner that night, with grilled pork tenderloin, garlic mashed potatoes with shredded beef jerky (potatoes from a box because we were "camping"), and mai tais (using a grocery store mai tai mixer that tasted like liquid SweeTarts).  Sleeping was pretty good that night since the wind died down and it was cooler, but we didn't see as many stars because the moon was so bright.  That was a trade-off I was willing to make.

Defiance House ruins (left) and petroglyphs

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